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Tories now in all-out war – and it's us who'll suffer

16 July 2017 Political News


What happens in Cabinet stays in Cabinet. Well, not this week. Instead, the Government has descended into all-out public war.

Alleged comments made by the Chancellor at Cabinet on Tuesday have been splashed by two different newspapers on two different days.

“Even a woman can drive a train” and “public sector workers are overpaid” are both supposed remarks by Mr Hammond that were leaked to The Sun and The Sunday Times.

Notably the Chancellor has denied the former but not the latter.

Instead, on TV on Sunday morning, .

But why has so-called “Spreadsheet Phil” become the target of what is clearly a concerted campaign against him?

Well, Mr Hammond claimed he didn’t know who was briefing against him, but he did more than allude to the possible reason why – Brexit.

Mr Hammond is fighting inside Government for a “soft” Brexit – one, he argues, that puts jobs and prosperity first and would involve a transitional arrangement with the EU.

Video: Who’s briefing against Phillip Hammond?

But it is a vision that has put him at odds with Brexiteers such as Boris Johnson and Liam Fox.

“Pretty much everybody around the Cabinet table accepts there will be some transition,” Mr Hammond claimed on Sunday.

Pretty much everybody, indeed.

But this war is not just about Brexit, it’s also about the future leadership of the Conservative Party.

Moves against an embattled and weak Theresa May could happen at any time, with Cabinet members jockeying for position.

Even Mr Hammond himself has been talked about as a future leader.

But, as the Chancellor pointed out: “This Government is facing a ticking clock over the Brexit negotiations.”

As long as the Cabinet appears focused on briefing against each other, a Brexit deal looks to be as far away as ever.

It seems, yet again, that some Conservatives are more focused on the party interest than the national interest.


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